Allegheny Airport Authority approves $500 mln gas-drilling deal with Consol (Pittsburgh Tribune)


February 8, 2013 – The Allegheny County Airport Authority on Friday approved a natural-gas drilling deal with Consol Energy that county officials say could generate about $500 million in revenue for the authority over the next two decades. The sum includes about $50 million in up-front payments, expected to be made in about a month when contracts are signed. The remaining $450 million would come from predicted royalties from up to 50 wells at Pittsburgh International Airport over the next 20 years.

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San Onofre to stay dark for now, new nuclear chief says (LA Times)


January 14, 2013 – The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission chief made her first visit Monday to the troubled San Onofre nuclear plant since taking office in July, offering assurance that the facility will remain closed until its safety is certain. The plant has been shut down for nearly a year because of unexpected deterioration of tubes in its four giant steam generators, replaced less than two years earlier. The NRC is reviewing a restart proposal that plant operator Southern California Edison submitted for one of the plant’s two reactor units, which entails running that unit at 70% capacity for five months in hopes that operating at reduced power would alleviate the conditions that caused the tubes to vibrate excessively.

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Cuomo Proposes “NY Green Bank” To Spur Renewable Energy Investments (Stateline)


January 15, 2013 – Governor Andrew Cuomo has proposed creating a $1 billion “NY Green Bank,” a quasi-independent authority that would provide capital for energy projects, aiming to leverage scattered resources and open the door to projects that might struggle to attract investment on their own. “A Green Bank is a fiscally practical option in a time of severe budget conditions,” the governor stated. A similar $30 million program is currently under way in Connecticut, where it has helped fund several projects over the past year. Lawmakers in a few other states are considering it, too.

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Public Utilities Commission of Ohio deals blow to AEP solar project (Columbus Dispatch)

January 10, 2013 – A plan that was to give Ohio the largest solar array east of the Rockies is all but dead, potentially costing hundreds of jobs. American Electric Power (Baa2) is saying that actions yesterday by regulators make it difficult to see how the 49.9-megawatt project southeast of Zanesville could ever come together. The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio voted 3-1 to strip the Turning Point Solar plan from a larger report about AEP’s projected power needs. The majority wrote that AEP did not prove that the project is needed, and the panel left it up to AEP to provide further justification. The Ohio Democratic Party and environmental groups seized on the decision as a job-killer and an abandonment of clean energy.

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Storm Panel Recommends Major Changes in New York (NY Times)

January 7, 2013 – A new commission formed by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, charged with figuring out how New York should adapt in the long term to cope with worsening storms amid climate change and population growth, has recommended an extensive menu of programs. Its broad 175-page study says the state should consider storm barriers with movable gates that would span the Narrows, at a cost of tens of billions of dollars, and endorses a variety of “soft infrastructure” investments like building dunes and wetlands and oyster reefs, which were more prevalent along New York’s coastline in the 1800s.

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Recent Reports and Studies Worth Reading / January 7, 2013

Michigan’s Economic Outlook and Budget ReviewMichigan Senate Fiscal Agency

“The Michigan economy, as measured by inflation-adjusted personal income, is estimated to grow 0.4% in 2013, 2.1% in 2014, and 1.7% in 2015, after rising 1.8% in 2012. Wage and salary employment is predicted to continue growing, increasing 0.6% during 2013, 0.9% in 2014, and 0.5% in 2015. The wage and salary employment increases in 2011 and 2012 mark the first time since 2000 that employment has risen in two consecutive years.”


Cal Facts 2013 Mac Taylor, Legislative Analyst’s Office

“With a state as big, as populous, and as complex as California, it would be impossible to quickly summarize how its economy or state budget works. The purpose of Cal Facts is more modest. By providing various “snapshot” pieces of information, we hope to provide the reader with a broad overview of public finance and program trends in the state.”


Debt Impact Study: Analysis of NY State’s Debt BurdenNY State Comptroller

“Longstanding concern over New York’s high debt levels, debt service costs, and imprudent use of borrowing led the Legislature to impose limits on State debt and enact related reforms in 2000. In the years since, outstanding debt has risen to the point where the State is approaching its statutory limit. As a result, meeting essential capital investment needs in transportation, education, environment, health and mental hygiene, and economic development will be an increasing challenge in the years to come.”


Transmission and Distribution InfrastructureHarris Williams & Co.

“The U.S. transmission and distribution (“T&D”) industry is expected to demonstrate significant growth in the future, driven by long-term, secular trends including (i) stable, growing demand for electricity; (ii) decades of under-investment in the transmission grid resulting in pent up demand for replacement of aging infrastructure; (iii) targeted government initiatives and stimulus to improve the existing T&D grid; and (iv) the proliferation of renewable power generation sources, such as wind and solar, which require greater T&D investment.”


The Water Efficiency and Conservation State ScorecardAlliance for Water Efficiency / Environmental Law Institute

“The sustainable management of our fresh water resources is a crucial component of supporting future population and economic growth. State laws and policies can be a powerful mechanism to promote the efficient use of water. This report describes research efforts taken to identify and assess state-level laws and policies related to water efficiency and conservation.”


Uncompensated Hospital Care Fact SheetAmerican Hospital Association

“U.S. hospitals provided $41.1 billion in uncompensated care in 2011, according to the latest data from the AHA’s Annual Survey of Hospitals. That’s $1.8 billion more than in 2010. The total includes bad debt and charity care (services for which hospitals neither received nor expected payment because they determined, with help from the patient, the patient’s inability to pay). It does not include Medicaid and Medicare underpayment.”


Feds rule JPMorgan can’t block California power plant changes (Sacramento Bee)

January 5, 2013 – JPMorgan Chase & Co. doesn’t have the right to block a power plant renovation in Southern California – a project the state says is needed to avoid possible blackouts this summer, federal energy regulators ruled Friday. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission issued an order in favor of the California Independent System Operator, which runs the state’s electricity grid.  State officials said the energy-trading arm of JPMorgan was blocking a reconfiguring of two power plants in Huntington Beach.